The “Head in the Sand” Gambit

I noted yet another news story with questionable “facts.”

League of Women Voters Calls for Tighter Gun Control
The group is also helping to educate its members on firearm laws.
[…]
“We ask them to increase the background check system to expand it to cover commercial sales – that’s gun shows, online sales, anytime an individual is selling to a stranger,” says Goddard.

It’s a slow day, so this time, I wrote to the reporter and the guy who thinks PPYI background checks aren’t required for commercial sales.

The reporter’s reply:

Watch the video and hear it straight from his mouth

Yeah, Peter DeLuca knew “Legislative Director” Andrew Goddard was blowing smoke… somewhere. So he made sure to record it.

Andrew Goddard, legislative director for the Virginia Center for Public Safety replied to my first email (asking if the quote was accurate):

It was a quote from me given to the Charlottesville Channel29 station yesterday. It looks correct to me. – Andy

Oh boy. Now for some fun.

Moi: I wondered if it was accurate because all commercial sales — whether in-store, at a gun show, online, or in a newspaper ad — to individuals have required background checks for decades, and I’d expect a “legislative director” to know that.

I received a reply from his personal email address (which I won’t include here). I just had to reply to his ravings.

Mr. Goddard,

AG: In response to your recent email regarding background checks, I see that you are under the impression that all commercial sales of firearms are subject to background checks on the buyer.

Yeah, I know. I suppose I was misled by that pesky 18 U.S. Code § 922(a)(1) which says “It shall be unlawful for any person except a licensed importer, licensed manufacturer, or licensed dealer, to engage in the business of importing, manufacturing, or dealing in firearms”.

AG: So let’s look at the facts:

Oh; let’s.

AG: In Virginia, and all other states, gun sellers who engage in the business of buying and selling Firearms must obtain a Federal Firearms License and all sales that they conduct are subject to a background check being performed on the buyer.

You did read 18 U.S. Code § 922.

AG: Almost all FFL’s follow this to the letter with just a tiny fraction of sales taking place “off the books” and without a background check. Some of these sales are later disguised as thefts.

If you have specific information on that, I do hope you shared it with the ATF. Tell me; exactly what percentage of VA FFLs do you have proof of indulging in this unlawful activity?

(He never answered that one.)

AG: In Virginia a person who does not have an FFL can buy and sell guns at gun shows and from their own homes. They can advertize the availability of guns via the internet at specialist site such as Armslist.com and many others. They can even advertize the availability of guns via local newspapers etc.

Yep, that’s been the case for a couple of centuries now.

AG: There are no laws that govern the number or type of firearms that each individual can sell or buy and there is no effort made to require a high volume seller without an FFL to obtain such a license.

That’s where federal law conflicts with federal regulation. 18 U.S. Code § 921 defines dealers in the business. But in 1994, President Clinton thought he could limit the availability of firearms by limiting FFLs. The ATF purged roughly 200,000 dealers — through revocations and nonrenewals — on the grounds that they weren’t really dealers, thus eliminating their future requirements to conduct background checks (better called “prior restraint on rights through preemptively proving your innocence (PPYI)”).

Gun owners called on the ATF to define “dealer”: X number of firearms in Y time frame; they refused.

Fast forward to the Obama administration which thought there weren’t enough “dealers” doing PPYI, and started busting unlicensed dealers. Again gun owners called for an actual definition. The administration refused, merely issuing the vague statement, “There is no specific threshold number of firearms purchased or sold that triggers the licensure requirement. But it is important to note that even a few transactions, when combined with other evidence, can be sufficient to establish that a person is ‘engaged in the business.’”

And still bogus. If they have indications that a person is an unlicensed trafficker, they can open an investigation and subpoena tax returns. If firearms transactions make up a large percentage of income, in the business. If they’ve documented large numbers of sales, but the income isn’t declared, tax evasion. You may recall that’s what Al Capone was finally busted for.

Your problem doesn’t seem to be a lack of laws, but federal incompetence.

AG: The law in Virginia allows these “private sellers” to sell in public venues yet still self determine that that are not “dealing” in firearms. I have plenty of video evidence of such sellers, who move from show to show exhibiting large numbers of guns and trading openly without an FFL.

Do share that evidence. But be careful how you do it. Then-NYC Mayor Bloomberg gathered such “evidence” by sending private detectives out to complete unlawful sales. Not only were gun owners and law enforcement calling for Bloomberg’s (and his stooges) arrest, the ATF was pissed because he blew multiple active investigations.

Let me tell you a related story: An individual was arrested by the ATF for engaging in the business of firearms sales without a license. Information I received certainly indicated that he was doing so, and knowingly doing so unlawfully. But suddenly he was back on the street, selling guns again, and no charges in sight. He showed up at my house uninvited and tried to sell me machineguns, which I rather forcefully rejected with a scattering of obscenities as I ran him off the property. I immediately made his actions known. Shortly after, another set of arrests was announced; prohibited persons purchasing firearms, mostly at gun shows.

Guess who the fed’s star witness — who sold those guns — was.

If you go to a gun show, see a guy clearly in the business, who states that he’s unlicensed, run away. He’s most likely an ATF or FBI CI.

AG: The law that is intended to prevent these sellers from selling a gun to a person that could not pass a firearms purchase background check is written such that there is only a penalty on the seller if it can be shown that the seller knew in advance that the buyer was prohibited from possessing a firearm.

That’s our pesky English common law heritage (and judicial precedent) that requires that a crime include intent; Mens rea. Look it up.

Just imagine if someone were to take your email as guidance for getting around laws against trafficking in Virginia, and you got arrested as an accessory. “But I didn’t intend to help someone break the law!” you’d exclaim reasonably. Maybe you should be required to run background checks on correspondents.

AG: This very weak law is skirted by sellers who deliberately avoid asking the prospective buyers for even the most basic information, such as name and state of residence. If you don’t ask anything about a buyer then you cannot be prosecuted for selling a handgun to the resident of another state, or to an individual that is under age etc.

And there you run up against another set of facts. Private individuals aren’t allowed to call in checks to NICS. To go through NICS, you have to go through an FFL, who has the hassle of logging the firearm and sale in his bound book.

An option that has been proposed that would allow private individuals to run checks is “BIDS;” “Blind Identification Database System”. The federal government has repeatedly rejected calls to implement BIDS because it doesn’t provide sales data to the government. I also suspect that it would be cheaper and more efficient than the NICS call center
has something to do with it: you wouldn’t need all those people answering phones and typing sales into computers.

And how useful are PPYI “background” checks? Over 90% of firearms murders are committed with stolen guns. Roughly 64% of murderers have prior felony convictions. HAYNES ruled that felons don’t have to comply anyway. A government study on the sources of firearms used in crimes found that most are obtained from friends and family (who could reasonably be expected to know the person is prohibited), or purely black market street sales. Gun shows accounted for .07% of crime guns; that’s seven one-hundredths of one percent. (On a personal note, while I was in law enforcement, several convicted felons informed me that they wanted more background checks and restrictions because it would not affect them, and made it more likely their chosen victims would be disarmed. Why do you propose assisting violent criminals?)

NICS denials are 93-96% false positives. That may be higher, because the ATF has a backlog of several tens of thousands of NICS denial appeals.

Tures et 2017 found that “In comparing our observations to a random model, we found that there was little to no difference in the results. We cannot conclude that states that regulate private gun sales have a higher, or lower, gun homicide rate.”

But… on the rare occasions that I’ve sold firearms, I sold only to friends, someone referred by a trusted friend, or an FFL. That’s what most gun owners do. Let me emphasize that:

PEOPLE WHO OWN GUNS FOR PROTECTION AGAINST BAD GUYS HAVE A VESTED INTEREST IN NOT PROVIDING GUNS TO BAD GUYS.

AG: My statement was made because I believe that ALL of the transactions that I just described are indeed commercial sales and should be subject to the same level of scrutiny, by first being subject to a background check on the buyer.

Your belief is wishful thinking, which you should carefully distinguish from legal reality.

AG: Virginia is one of the most prolific exporters of guns that later are recovered from crime scenes in other states, and one of the lowest importers of crime guns due to the fact that our own criminals are so well furnished with weapons that they do not need to go out of state to obtain them.

18 U.S. Code § 922 again. It’s already illegal to traffick firearms. What new law do you need?

So… How does Virginia’s violent crime rate compare to those “other states?” I noticed that Massachusetts routinely blamed its crime on guns from New Hampshire, yet could never explain why those same guns weren’t causing crime in NH (which typically vies with constitutional carry Vermont for the lowest violent crime rates in the nation).

(No answer to that one, either.)

Estimates of American gun owners vary by significantly large amounts. The lowest I have seen is 55 million, or roughly 17% of the general population. The highest is 120 million, or approximately 37%. Murderers who were lawful gun owners are just 0.0022% of all gun owners; 22 ten-thousandths of 1 percent. At most.

Calling for new laws on gun owners is like a cancer researcher ignoring smoking or asbestos correlations to call for a ban on parakeet ownership.

Another analogy: Moron gets mad when his football team loses and throws his TV out the window injuring a passerby. You respond by calling for TV and TV owner registration, licensing and training, and background checks on TV sales. And who needs one of those “high capac… er, definition
TVs?

I prefer to think that you, and VACPS, are well-intentioned and wish to reduce violent crime. But to fix an existing problem, you have to understand existing conditions, including laws. You cannot confuse law with wishful thinking and base your decisions on that confusion. You have to be willing to target the problem and not the 99.9814% of gun owners who didn’t commit the crimes, or the 99.9693% of firearms that weren’t used in crimes.

I would prefer to persuade you than argue. But if you can’t focus on facts — whether willful or incapable — I have to question your intelligence, sanity… or agenda.

With bated breath, I awaited his response.

Bingo! The “bury my head in the sand” gambit.

AG: Thank you for taking so much time to point out all my “errors”, and provide me with so much evidence and unsourced statistics. Had you refrained from insulting and demeaning remarks, I would have spent an equal amount of time to counter every one of your “insights”. However, I have better things to do with my time and you are obviously in possession of some pretty powerful, yet alternative, facts.

Oh, no! “Alternative facts.” I think he mistook me for a CNN reporter.

Well, I can’t leave the guy hanging, bereft of basic facts on which to concoct his rights-violating plans. He might have to continue with his unicorn-based wishful thinking.

Moi: Hey, you’re the “legislative director” who should know this stuff, and has a whole nonprofit to draw on. I’m just one guy.

But I’ll help you out. Granted, some of these “alternative facts” come from disreputable organizations like the FBI, the Census Bureau, Cornell, the Supreme Court, and peer reviewed papers, but you might want to see what your pro-freedom opposition is thinking.

18 U.S. Code § 922
https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/18/922

FBI Uniform Crime Reports
https://ucr.fbi.gov/

Presidents Clinton and Obama on FFLs
http://freebeacon.com/issues/obama-gun-action-reverses-course-on-clinton-admin-policy/

Mens rea
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mens_rea

NICS not available to private individuals
https://www.atf.gov/file/56331/download

BIDS
https://web.archive.org/web/20010414075236/http:/www.keepandbeararms.com/Puckett/bids.asp

HAYNES
https://supreme.justia.com/cases/federal/us/390/85/

Firearms sources
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2015-09/du-cag091615.php

What Percentage Of Murders Are Committed With Stolen Guns?

Firearms ownership
https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/one-three-americans-own-guns-culture-factor-study-finds-n384031

Prior felony convictions
https://www.policeone.com/legal/articles/508908-Most-convicted-violent-felons-have-prior-record-report-says/

Gun show crime guns
https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0091743515001486

NICS false positives
https://www.newsmax.com/JohnLott/bradylaw-gunownership/2011/06/14/id/399967/

and
https://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/bjs/grants/239272.pdf

Tures et al
http://savannahnow.com/column/opinion/2017-10-26/john-tures-no-proof-gun-laws-reduce-gun-homicides

also
https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2711323

Population numbers
https://www.census.gov/

Analysis and number crunching
http://zelmanpartisans.com/?p=4555

Should Mr. Goddard reply again, I’ll update this post. But I expect he’ll either delete my email or stroke out.


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Door Kickers

I’ve noted the theoretical problems with door-to-door weapons searches. Let’s see how that works in the real world.

Firearms Recovery Operation Held In Santa Cruz County
Santa Cruz County law enforcement agencies teamed up with agents from the California Department of Justice Bureau of Firearms for a two-day operation on Tuesday and Wednesday to recover guns owned by individuals who are prohibited from possessing them, according to the Santa Cruz County Law Enforcement Chief’s Association.

In this case, California started with a gun owner database, which they compared to other databases to see who suddenly became a prohibited person. So, unlike my worst-case (for the cops) “belling the cat” scenario, they should have a good firearms hit rate. Right?

So how did it go? Multi-agency teams. Two days. 47 addresses.

One bust. For one gun.

At that rate, it’s going to take them 426 days just to clear the current backlog of 10,000 newly prohibited persons they think they know about. Never mind all the folks continually being added to the list even as they work.

But — as the infomercial says — Wait! There’s more.

One bust. For one gun. Perhaps that means that Californians are just really compliant with gun people control laws, unlike the old days of 20 years past when the state saw a whopping 2.33% compliance rate with registration, and those prohibited folks properly disposed of their firearms. Except…

California does have registration. And universal preemptively-prove-your-innocence checks. If they properly disposed of their guns, that should have been in the state’s records and there’d be no reason to send the confiscation squads.

Are state records that bad? Did 46 out of 47 people lawfully transport their firearms out of state? Did 46 out of 47 unlawfully transfer them within the state? Did the cops simply not try very hard?

Was 1 out 47 simply a slow learner? Or maybe he didn’t even know about that protective order.

If it took California 2 days to not find 46 registered weapons in the hands of 46 registered gun owners, how long will it take to fail the other 9,953 (and counting) times?

On the bright side, this may identify another challenge to California’s obscene gun laws. You may recall that New York City was forced to end their warrantless “stop and frisk” program not merely because it was unconstitutional. Courts have long upheld unconstitutional practices if the government could demonstrate an overriding need for the sake of public safety. The judge in the NYC case tossed “stop and frisk” because, according to the city’s own data, it didn’t work, obliviating their “public safety” argument.

California’s restrictions and confiscation attempts don’t work either.


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Mandalay Bay Preliminary Investigative Report

Yes, it matters for RKBA.

The LVMPD’s Preliminary Investigative Report (PDF) on the Mandalay Bay mass shooting has been released. If they expected this to silence doubters of the ever changing narrative, they screwed up. Do read it; it’s 81 pages, but that includes photographs and victim lists.

I noticed little things. Early leaks said there were AR- and AK pattern rifles. According to this report there were only AR-15 and and AR-10 pattern rifles, one revolver, and a Ruger bolt-action in .308.

Early leaks said the asshole was in financial trouble. This reports says not only were all his debts paid, but he’d paid the resort bill.

One point of agreement between early leaks and this report is that the asshole wired at least $100,000 to the Philippines.

But something missing from this report is hinted at here.

Paddock was on the floor south of the chair and side table. He was wearing black pants, a long sleeve brown shirt, black gloves, and grey shoes. Paddock was on his back with his head to the south, feet to the north, and arms at his sides. There was apparent blood surrounding his nose and mouth, and on the floor under his head. There was also apparent blood on the front of his shirt. A rifle was on the floor under his legs. A grey box cutter was on the floor between his feet. There were casings on the floor surrounding him. A silver/black colored “Smith & Wesson”
revolver with apparent blood on it was on the floor south of Paddock’s head.

Please refer to this previously leaked crime scene photo (mildly graphic shot of the body). Unmentioned in the report is the rifle under which the asshole somehow managed to extend his foot without overturning it.

Also unmentioned is something to be found in this leaked photo (very graphic; head shot): expended brass on top of the blood.

The geometry is odd, too. The asshole shot himself in the mouth and fell over. The revolver (the suicide weapon per the report) is two feet “above” his head, and his arms are along his side, foot under a bipod-mounted rifle. Shades of Vince Foster (has anyone checked Hillary’s alibi?).

And now we get to something else I find odd. The room service ticket for October 1st included two entrees. The asshole’s body in 32-135 was found wearing gloves. Another pair of gloves was found at the shooting position in 32-134 (he changed gloves mid-shoot?), which happens to be where the scoped bolt-action rifle was found.

Now, looking at the weapons list, you’ll note that many rifles had no sights/optics. At least one only had a front sight. Clearly precision shooting wasn’t expected…

…except we have a note of precision ballistics calculations. And a spotting scope.

Two entrees, two shooting positions, two pairs of gloves, a precision rifle and a spotting scope. Computers connected to different cameras in both rooms. Video recording with the sound of two different weapons fired simultaneously. Brass on top of blood from suicide.

One shooter.

Oh, and the laptop whose hard drive walked away. You’d think if the asshole was concerned about incriminating computer files, he’d have disappeared the one with the reported kiddie porn, too.

Draw your own conclusions. (I have my own, but in deference to The Zelman Partisans I’ll stay out of that here.)

Back to why this still matters. At the state and local levels, we’re seeing legislation to further restrict rights based on this incident. Bump-fire stocks, most notably. Peruse that report and you’ll see multiple reports from civilians and police officers of automatic weapons fire. While there were leaks that at least two firearms were fully automatic (in addition to the bump-fire stocked rifles), that isn’t addressed in this report at all. Seems odd.

Perhaps they’re after the person who sold (or converted) automatic weapons to the asshole and don’t want to tip him off that they know auto weapons were involved. Except that was released back in October. If I were that black marketeer, I’d have started covering my butt back then.

If no weapons were full-auto, why not correct the initial report, leaving the path open for regulating bump-fire stocks? If all the weapons were legal, and they no longer consider the girlfriend a suspect, why not set the record straight? And who could they be considering for charges if no one else did anything unlawful?

If this report was expected to allay concerns, they missed… their own target.


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Correlation? Causation?

The latest gun people control argument making the rounds is a “report” from the Violence Promotion I-mean-Policy Center that purports to show:

U.S. Gun Death Rate Jumps 17 Percent Since 2008 Supreme Court District of Columbia v. Heller Decision Affirming Right to Own a Handgun for Self-Defense

Oh, dear. Heller is killing people.

Not. Let’s take a look at the VPC’s own chart demonstrating that dramatic jump post-Heller.

Hmm. Modest increases through 2012; but nothing dramatic. Still well below the long-term average and part of a long term decline in firearms-related deaths. But look where we do see a dramatic jump: 2015 and 2016. That starts 7 years after Heller.

You’d think that if Heller were the cause, we’d see that big increase a little sooner. My uneducated, troglodytic gun owner guess would be that something changed in 2014 or 2015; maybe 2013 or 2016. But what?

2013:

  • New York passes “NY SAFE” act )assorted bans, registration, licensing, universal firearms PPYI, ammo PPYI, and more).
  • Colorado launches universal PPYI checks, “high capacity” magazines bans, mental health reporting requirements.
  • Maryland passes its “Firearm Safety Act,” called “one of the strictest gun laws in the nation.” (Sure helped Baltimore reach its goal of one of the highest homicide rates in the world, eh?)

2014:

  • California begins keeping more firearms sales records and bans “high capacity” magazine sales.
  • Connecticut begins “assault weapon” and “high capacity” magazine registration.
  • Obama launched his “Gun Violence Reduction Executive Actions;” 23 new executive orders intended to restrict honest folk.
  • Obama announces his intent to expand DACA protections for illegals.
    Washington passes I-594 PPYI checks.

2015:

  • Oregon launches universal PPYI.
  • California somehow found something about guns not already regulated to their taste and added several more restrictions, including confiscations.
  • Alabama prohibited more people possessing firearms, and required more reporting.
  • Obama ordered the ATF to increase FFL licensing requirements, increase hiring, boost NICS reporting, and make many SS disability recipients prohibited persons.
  • Virginia’s AG reneged on reciprocal carry agreements.

2016:

  • California expands firearms seizures, blocks campus carry, imposes ERPOs

And much more.

Granted, none of that establishes causation, but at least the temporal correlation is a lot closer than a SCOTUS decision years back. And about that decision…

Heller was specifically about District of Columbia firearms restrictions. Not national laws. It was important at the national level because everyone expected it — correctly — to be used as a precedent in future. But to blame Heller itself for an increase in deaths indicates a simplistic… nay, simple-minded understanding of law and precedent.

It wasn’t until the SCOTUS McDonald decision two years later that Heller‘s precedent was applied to all the states. Funny that the VPC report doesn’t even mention that case.


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[UPDATE 2] Survey: Support for New Gun Control Laws

Update: For some reason, my questions have disappeared.
Had to reenter all but one question. Seems to be working now.

I’m presenting another survey. Unlike past polls, this one is not directed at the RKBA/Firearms community, although anyone and everyone is welcome to participate.

But I would very much appreciate it if you distributed it far and wide, to the general population. Specifically those who allegedly poll in favor of new “gun” control laws.

START THE SURVEY

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Dads, the original Superheroes

Pretty impressive eh?? Especially since it seems that TV and advertisers seem to delight in portraying men as foolish and incompetent, sort of window dressing to the family.

Dumbing down Dad: How media present husbands, fathers as useless

It’s not hard to find. If you watch TV, then you’ve most likely witnessed the portrayal of the modern-day husband and father as lazy, incompetent and stupid.

Just these three characteristics are sure to bring to mind one commercial or sitcom that personifies this type of man.

Or perhaps TV sitcoms’ working-class fathers depicted as ‘bumbling,’ ‘incapable,’ study finds

An analysis of 13 fathers in 12 recent TV sitcoms and their 699 interactions with their minor children showed that working-class fathers continued to be depicted less positively than middle-class fathers, said study author Jessica Troilo, assistant professor of child development and family studies at West Virginia University.

This follows the kind of pattern seen, wherein TV working-class fathers are typified as “kind of bumbling” and “incapable,” compared to middle-class fathers, Ms. Troilo said.

Not mine. My dad was John Wayne, Roy Rogers and Pa Walton all rolled into one. He thought if I wanted to learn to rebuild a carburetor, put on tie rod ends or throw a football I should learn and he taught me. He did insist my sisters and I all knew how to safely change a tire.

But I watched a few of these hero dad videos with interest. A friend of mine had posted a similar compilation on Facebook and it got me to thinking. These guys have lighting quick reflexes when it comes to saving their kids, and sometime the kids of others. But what about the mindset?  Because that matters.

I thought about the stories that come everyday, when men are hero husbands and dads, and they all had one thing in common. Every single one of them. If I give you a snippet, can you figure it out??

Father Dining With Family

The father told police the gunman turned the gun on his family, at which point he pulled out his own handgun and shot the robber.

Armed Robber Breaks Into Home

The sheriff’s office says the homeowner woke up to his dogs barking and the back door open. The homeowner reportedly armed himself and approached the back door. He then saw that Yang was armed with a firearm so the homeowner fired his gun and hit the suspect twice.

The homeowner’s wife and his two children were both home during the altercation.

Yang dropped his weapon and dropped to the ground but got up and ran away from the home. Yang reportedly went to other houses looking for help, and Collinsville police later found him lying in the street not far from the home he tried to break into. Investigators found multiple firearms.

Fort Worth Homeowner

While on the phone with 911, police say the intruder continued making threats on the family and trashing items inside the house, then we’re told he attempted to run towards one of the rooms.

At that point investigators tell CBS11 the father fired at the unidentified man killing him inside the home.

Police also say the suffered a stab wound from the intruder who was armed with a knife.

Quick-Thinking Dad

The harrowing ordeal unfolded on Tuesday night when Amber Brackney was leaving her home in Baker, Florida, and noticed that her driveway was blocked by mysterious barrels.

Rather than get out of the car, Brackney called her father, Terry Brackney, 51, who was inside the home and attempted to navigate around the barrels, which police believe might have been intentionally placed in an effort to snatch the teen.

As his daughter got around the barrier, Terry Brackney heard some strange sounds coming from outside and immediately grabbed his gun and jumped into action, according to a police report from the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office.

“After spotting some individuals trying to force their way into his garage, he fired three shots and the intruders fled into the woods,” the report read. “He later learned they had unscrewed some of his security lights.”

Houston Father Saves Family

A family in Houston, Texas, was relaxing in their home Sunday when three armed men suddenly entered and demanded money. Before the intruders could steal anything, however, the father used his own firearm to shoot two of them. The third intruder ran away from the scene and is still at large.

Yes, I could go on with more examples, but I’m sure you have all figured it out by now. They were all wearing Justin cowboy boots! Naw, just kidding. They were all armed and prepared and willing to do any and every thing necessary to protect their families.

You would think that the media would celebrate these sorts of rescues as they do the ones in the videos. But they do not. It seems they will warble on about how risky, how dangerous, how lucky they didn’t accidentally shoot their child or spouse instead of the undocumented house-guest. But John Lott has an interesting column that points out just how politicized the FBI became under sotero/obama.

A 2014 FBI report claims that only once between 2000 and 2013 did a concealed handgun permit holder stop a public shooting (they claimed to look at all cases where guns were fired in public that weren’t part of a gang fight or some other crime). This single case occurred in Winnemucca, Nevada in May 2008, when a customer with a permit fatally shot an attacker who had just killed two people. They didn’t even include the 2007 church shooting in Colorado Springs, where a killer had already taken two lives at the church before being stopped by a permit holder.

This false claim just shows how politicized the FBI became under the Obama administration. Many times, police, sheriffs, and prosecutors have gone on the record and credited permit holders with saving many lives. These attacks didn’t get national news attention, but they would have been on front pages everywhere if a permit holder hadn’t intervened.

He goes on to list other cases, and here is the link to the study from the FIB he references.

I think that there is just something hardwired into us, that as adults we protect the young, weak and vulnerable, or those with whom we have a connection. Be it children, siblings, elderly parents, friends and yes, our pets. They are like human children, only furrier, or with feathers.

But if you want or need more motivation to carry the most effective tool to protect your kith, kin and kitty, there is a great column by John Conner called “Why Do You Carry A Gun?” It is well worth reading.

I know it isn’t Father’s Day, but really, shouldn’t there be more than one day a year to say thank you to the hero fathers that save kids from baseball bats, drowning, falling off horses, into pits and tie our shoe laces and teach us to change tie rod ends? I think so. I wish I told mine more.

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Poll: Electronic Personal Assistants and Smart TVs

It has been noted that telephone surveys are probably a poor way of determining firearms ownership rates as gun owners are hesitant to tell random strangers what valuables they have in their homes, and — in the face of ongoing threats of more restrictive gun ownership laws — even less likely likely to tell the government.

Yet companies are marketing devices like smart televisions and electronic personal assistants that act as 24/7 audiovisual monitoring devices, and people appear to be snapping them up. Facebook is releasing “Portal,” a personal assistant optimized for social media and instantly communicating with family members like big brother.

All the data collected — potentially including imagery of personal possessions in your home, or discussions of such — by these devices is subject to scrutiny by the provider and “authorized” third parties, and to court subpoenas and warrants. As Internet-connected computers, they are also potentially vulnerable to third party hacking.

As a gun owner, would you buy and use one these devices?

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How to End “Gun” Violence in Three Easy Lessons

After every high profile shooting, the usual suspects dance in the blood and cry out for a solution to “gun” violence. Somehow, knife, baseball, and fist violence don’t rate.

The proferred “solutions” always involve more rules and laws that restrict the rights of people who didn’t do it. Laws that, oddly enough, won’t apply to the folks perpetrating the violence. They specifically blame the innocent for the acts of criminals.

Laws that regulate things that had nothing to do with the shooting.

Laws that already don’t work.

When rational people point that out, the gun people controlling victim disarmers plug their ears and run around chanting, “Nyah, nyah; can’t hear you!” and claim we don’t have any better ideas.

Yes. I do. I’ve mentioned them a time or two over the decades. And for the disarmers’ convenience, here they are. Three basic reforms that would fix most of the “gun” (and other weapons) violence: incarceration, education, and defense.

Incarceration

End catch and release sentencing policies for violent criminals. If they’re that dangerous, you don’t need to be putting them back on the street. Repeat felons would not be eligible for plea bargains. Victim restitution must be included.

End “3 strikes” style sentencing guidelines that actually encourage criminals to escalate (i.e.- two time loser kills next victim to eliminate witnesses).

Reform sentencing guidelines to promote rehabilitation. Regardless of sentence length, the criminal will not be eligible for parole or release until he has successfully completed a course of study. For first offenders without a high school diploma, that can be a General Equivalency Diploma program. For repeat offenders and those who have a high school diploma or GED, it will be a trade school such as welding, machinist, mechanic. Also acceptable will be a college degree program in hard sciences (physics, chemistry, biology, etc.) or engineering. Soft sciences (sociology, psychology, etc.) or liberal arts that prepare one for a career as a minimum wage barista will not qualify. Some industries or businesses might sponsor training programs, for a source of skilled workers who they’ve had a chance to observe improving their lot.

Instead of eliminating questions about criminal history from job applications, we could add, “And what new useful skill are you bringing me that experience?”

Divert money from victim disarming “gun” control programs to increase staffing and training in parole offices. The goal there is to have sufficient parole and probation officers to properly supervise and counsel their subjects. Parole/probation should require gainful employment or continuing — successful — education (maintain C average, for instance).

Education

The public school system is broken. Taken over by education majors who’ve rewritten the rules to require an education major to be a teacher, rather than a degree in the subject(s) taught. Schools focus on socialization over learning. They’re full of the latest, ever-evolving theories of teaching subjects they do not understand The result is high school graduates who are not literate enough to fill out a job application or capable of balancing a check book. Too often those people — otherwise unemployable — fail at boring unskilled labor and turn to lucrative crime.

Schools must abandon social justice, and teach basic skills: reading (to the point of reading a novel and comprehending it), writing (to the point of drafting a comprehensible resume cover letter), mathematics (balancing a check book and estimating whether you’ve got enough gas in the tank to reach your destination), basic science (basic laws or motion, enough biology to under what allosomes do in mammals, enough chemistry to understand why mixing vinegar and baking soda doesn’t make a great cleaning product, and why there’s no such thing as chemical-free food). I had a science who believed that potatoes have zero calories.

Classes that teach actual life skills like old style home economics, shop, and basic firearms safety are good.

English. English. English. Classes must teach and be taught in English. English has been the defacto majority language in the US for a very long time. If a person cannot function in English, she’ll be severely limited in employment and life opportunities.

America does not have the educational resources to hire qualified teachers in every subject for every possible at-home language. We cannot have parallel English/Spanish/Somali/Arabic/whatever curricula. If a student does not function at an age appropriate level in English, that student should be placed in a remedial English class until she achieves a level which allows her to successfully participate in the regular curriculum.

I knew two women at a company whose first language was Spanish. One woman only had a few words of English and had worked in her section for years. She could not get promoted up. As a new hire, I had to read instructions for her and show her how to do her job. She was not stupid; she simply never bothered learning English.

The other woman was fluent in spoken and written English. Since she was able to read technical manuals and parts diagrams, she was immediately hired in another department at a much higher wage.

If a Somali won’t learn English, he’ll most likely be restricted to his local Somalian community, with limited employment opportunities. Perhaps all he’ll be able to do for a living is sell drugs to his neighbors, in competition with folks who will shoot it out over turf.

End peer promotion. You aren’t protecting someone’s self-esteem by promoting him to a higher level where he’s going to fail again. Hold him back until he learns. If he’s ashamed to share a class with younger folks, he can work harder.

If he works hard enough, he can test to see if he is ready to rejoin his former classmates in the more advanced class. He can be proud that he accomplished something himself, instead of it being given to him. Maybe he’ll learn to appreciate that over a sense of entitlement.

For that, any student who believes herself to be ready can take the tests for high school graduation; if she passes — regardless of age — she gets her diploma and walks out.

It wouldn’t break my heart to see it made a felony to graduate a person who is functionally illiterate after twelve years of “schooling.” My sisters — 2 and 4 years older than I — taught me to read before I started school. We have “teachers” far less effective than a couple of untrained little girls.

Self Defense

The last time a nuclear weapon was used in combat on this planet was fifteen years before I was born. Like it or not, one reason for that was deterrence. Mutual Assured Destruction was… ahem, overkill, but no one dropped nukes because they didn’t want anyone replying in kind.

Criminals, being human, too, also realize this. There have surveys of inmates which showed that given a choice of targets, criminals will choose to avoid a potential victim they believe may be armed. I have personally heard convicted felons state that flatly.

I also saw a dayroom full of inmates who were watching a news report on “gun control.” Their consensus was that gun control, and firearms bans in particular, would be a good thing. One inmate gleefully noted how helpful it would be to disarm victims, and “I’ll always be able to get a gun when I’m out anyway.”

Please note that “studies” allegedly showing lower rates of violence or crime in places with stronger “gun” control typically lump in suicide with real crime, exclude violence with other implements, or use artificial — nonexistent, that is — “synthetic states” for comparisons. Cherry-picking time frames is also popular.

The reality is otherwise. Baltimore has strong “gun” control laws, and the highest murder rate in the country at more than 55 per 100,000 people. That’s worse than Venezuela or cartel-ridden Mexico. For that matter both Venezuela and Mexico have very restrictive gun laws.

Licenseless New Hampshire and Vermont generally vie for the last nationwide slot for homicides and violent crime.

So the ability of noncriminals to defend themselves will reduce violent crime; through deterrence and — if widespread — Darwinian selection. Dead would-be killers are rarely recidivists.

So…

National reciprocal carry is a good start. National “constitutional carry” is better.

A national Stand Your Ground (SYG) law that places the burden of proving guilt on prosecution, rather than requiring an honest defender to prove his innocence, is good. If a criminal killer says, “I didn’t do it.” the burden of proof is on the prosecution. If a lawful gun owners, “I did it in self defense.” the burden shifts to him sans SYG.

The police must stop regarding a holstered or slung weapon as probably cause for stopping, questioning, and too often shooting noncriminals. Particularly when they, ironically, have holstered or slung weapons. Lawful gun owners make up such a tiny fraction of a percent of firearms-wielding murderers that being in possession of a car is as much an indicator of criminal intent as gun possession.

Divert money from useless gun “buybacks” to free firearms classes for the community. More people trained will mean more honest people carrying (deterring criminals who’ll probably have to move to Baltimore), and even fewer firearms accidents.

Kill the National Instant Check System (NICS). It doesn’t work. Really, they don’t. Mostly because criminals usually get their guns from their own social networks. Not even at gun shows or online sales.

But lawful gun owners who want protection from bad guys, don’t really want to inadvertently sell guns to bad guys. So put the thumb-twiddlers at NICS to work on “Blind Identification Database System” (BIDS). Either allow private sellers access to the system, or pay dealers to run the checks without paperwork (unless someone fails, maybe).

Establish “firearms assistance” programs for poor but honest folks who can’t afford guns, ammunition, and practice. If abortion, nowhere mentioned in the Constitution, is a right worthy of subsidy, certainly protection should be supported.

We need more ranges, too.

Local and state governments could promote self defense, and raise money for it, by running gun lotteries. Pow’R Ball, if you will. Prizes could be high end defensive tools, ammunition, accessories, gift cards, and range memberships.

There you have it the — already declining — problem of “gun” violence (all criminal violence) largely solved.

1. Teaching people the things they need to function in an honest society.
2. Providing second chances and skills to those who slip and survive.
3. Providing skills and equipment to those who want to stop the real violence.


Carl is an unpaid TZP volunteer. If you found this post useful, please consider dropping something in his tip jar.

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“I’m going to jail.”

Not exactly RKBA, but too funny not to share.

Turn up your sound so you can hear everything.

“Oh, f##k, f##k.”

“I’m going to jail.”

“Please? Please?”

“Please? I’m sorry.”

“Help?”

But note: the clerk was on the phone as soon as she realized what was happening. And it took the police 10 minutes to arrive. 10 minutes can be a long time when you’re in danger and counting on someone else to save you. Fortunately, she had her act together and got everyone else out of danger.

Oh. And, uh, pro tip: shooting security locks open generally only works in movies.

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Stung

So the talk of the twon is the GAO’s Internet Firearms Sales report.

That would be the one — commissioned by anti-human/civil rights activists Elijah Cummings [D-MD]and Elizabeth Warren [D-MA] — in which the GAO attempted to purchase guns on the Internet while posing as prohibited persons.

They made 72 attempts on public sites. All failed. Twice, they thought they’d succeeded only to discover they were scammed; folks took their our money and never shipped guns.

Go figure. Gun owners who often are gun owners because they want protection against bad guys are generally not going to knowingly provide guns to bad guys.

Well, they had to come up with something for Congressional weasels, so they went to the “Dark Web,” to sites specifically set up for illegal black market transactions. They skipped the part about claiming to be prohibited persons.

And still only succeeded twice, out of seven attempts. I have no doubt that Cummings and Warren will present that as a 29% success rate rather than 2.5%.

If it’s really that high. One firearm they purchased was billed as an Uzi converted to full-auto. The report notably says, “If the firearm meets the NFA’s definition of a machine gun, the seller’s prior possession of the Uzi, and the shipment to our agent, likely violated federal law.” Which means they aren’t sure they got what they ordered.

Interestingly, while the report mentions prices paid in other online stings, they neglect to tells us how much they paid for an old AR-15 or a dubiously “converted” subgun.


Carl is an unpaid TZP volunteer. If you found this post useful, please consider dropping something in his tip jar.

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